Man charged in death of police officer

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Prosecutors have charged a man in a crash that killed an off-duty Chicago police officer.

An off-duty Chicago police officer was struck and killed late Friday night while riding his motorcycle.

The crash happened just before midnight at the intersection of 31st Street and Ashland.

Police say Wayne Smith was traveling south on Ashland when an SUV going in the opposite direction made a left turn onto 31st and struck Smith. Police say the driver ran away from the scene, but was arrested a short time later.

Prosecutors have charged the SUV's driver, 22-year old Manuel Puga, with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence.

Smith's wife remembers her husband as a family man who loved his children.

"Wayne was a loving and devoted dad there was nothing that he didn't do for them. He loved them. He loved opening the door and them running up to the door screaming, 'Dad, dad.' I think that made his day after the long hours on the job," said Toria Rivers-Smith.

Smith was an 11-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department who worked in the narcotics division.

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